Following 2019 being declared the year of the vegan, the age of the conscious consumer has well and truly begun. Is it a coincidence that people are seeing more clearly with ‘2020 vision’? 

Around the globe, the younger generation is taking a more ethical approach to shopping; they now find more satisfaction in sourcing ethical and sustainable goods and services, than the consumerist idea of ‘retail therapy’ some older generations once valued as an acceptable past-time.

Alongside this shift in retail behaviour, there is also more demand for plant-based products than there has ever been before. Biological and vegan businesses are no longer small players in the marketplace - they’re giving traditional FMCG brands a real run for their money. And as an entirely plant-based creative agency, we love to see vegan brands succeed and thrive (client, or not).

Check out these plant-based brands who are challenging the status quo and making waves in their own way:

OATLY

Could there ever be a ‘top vegan brands’ list without mentioning Oatly? We think not.

Oatly is leading the “Post Milk Generation”, by helping farmers to move towards more sustainable agricultural practices, as well as creating their hugely popular Oat milk products. Apart from its signature creamy taste, Oatly is also known for creating bold (and sometimes self-deprecating) marketing campaigns that always stand out amongst the noise.

And true to the company's progressive nature, Oatly has adapted to the current climate by momentarily pausing advertising campaigns to create a Department of Distraction Services on it’s website. 

Oatly isn’t just a game-changer for non-vegan replacement products. It’s opened the world up to the idea that the replacement can be significantly better than the original!

LORD OF THE FRIES

This vegan fast-food chain was started with humble beginnings in Australia as a food van specialising in only fries and sauces. Over time, the franchise paid attention to the rise of demand for vegan food and acted accordingly; bringing vegan burgers, hotdogs and milkshakes to the menu.

"From when we opened we did not want to have all over our menu 'vegan, Halal, vegetarian', we focused on tasty food that just happens to be vegan," the Chief executive and co-founder Mark Koronczyk told an Australian news outlet.

Since then, Lord of the fries has expanded its business internationally to countries such as India and Canada. We love the fact that they took a subtle approach to introduce their plant-based product range, allowing consumers the opportunity to try plant-based alternatives without any preconceived ideas. 

MONOPOLY 

Okay, technically Monopoly doesn’t fall under the category of ethical brands… in fact, it has been criticized in the past as being a game for “capitalist indoctrination”. 

Hasbro - the creators of the game - responded beautifully by creating a new version of its iconic game that caters to vegans and socialists 

The description of the Socialism - Winning is for capitalists game says, “in the Monopoly Socialism game, players move around the board working to make a better community by managing and contributing to projects such as a no-tip vegan restaurant, an all-winners school, or a museum of co-creation.”

Whilst the game is marketed as a parody to the original and it might seem silly to some, we love the potential this game has to encourage its players to think about the way we can operate differently in the world!

CLOVE + HALLOW 

An important part of being a conscious consumer is choosing to support companies that don’t discriminate against marginalised groups - diversity and ethical living go hand-in-hand.

The cosmetics industry has traditionally been a problematic area; darker skin tones have been systematically left out of product ranges and advertising, alluding to an idea that they are not considered ‘beautiful’ enough.

CLOVE + HALLOW is an award-winning vegan cosmetics line that creates products using 15 or fewer safe ingredients with inclusive shade ranges to enhance and celebrate the natural beauty of all its consumers. 

They also continue to challenge the status quo through their blog, which features content such as the best protein sources for vegans and how to take care of your mental health. We love seeing a cosmetic company with such strong ethics take such a holistic approach to beauty!

THE VERY GOOD BUTCHER

Being a butcher isn’t usually a profession aligned with living a cruelty-free lifestyle, but the founders of The Very Good Butchers set out to do things differently. Fed up with only seeing overly-processed meat alternatives in the marketplace, they set out to create plant-based meats that were as nutritious as they are tasty. 

After consistently selling out at farmers markets, three years of testing their products and creating their own production facility, the Butchery was opened. Beans are the basis of most of their products, which can be purchased online, in their deli and an onsite restaurant. 

The Very Good Food Company, which runs Very Good Butchers, recently went public on the Canadian stock exchange on June 18, 2020, at just $0.25 per share. They were blown away when they closed four days later at an impressive $2.00 per share. 

The Very Good Food Company has its sights set on launching new brands that will operate under its umbrella, all sharing the same plant-based ethos. We admire the innovative nature and entrepreneurial spirit of this company and have no doubts that they will continue to make strides in the marketplace as interest in veganism continues to grow.